Prayer






Lord, as 2013 leaves and another year comes, I ask that You increase our faith even more. Help us Lord to turn our eyes only on You. Help us Lord to aim for love as our highest goal when 2014 arrives. Lead us Lord into Your truth always. Thank You for always being there with us as we encountered both trials and moments of peace from the past. Thank You for all of Your provisions. Most of all, thank You Lord for Your love, grace and mercy. I pray Lord that You will fan the flames in each of Your children’s heart. That You will help us see those things that are not seen but have eternal values. Lord, please take away anything in our lives that hinder us from walking in Spirit and Truth. May many turn to You Lord and surrender for doing so is not defeat but victory. I pray for this country. To have all the lies be exposed under Your Light.  Remove those blinders Lord that prevent people from seeing Your offer of salvation.  

Thank You for loving us first Lord. Help us to seek You first and love others unconditionally the way You love us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This 2014



It was a given. That this female inmate lied about her injury. She claimed she fell and had a seizure. A condition she denied to our treating jail doctor’s assistant. That she was never put on any medications. However, as a precaution, she was assigned the “bottom bunk” in her cell to avoid any injuries. And a yellow band marked “seizure” applied to her left wrist to aid the responding medical staff should any emergencies arose.

Kumusta ka na???(meaning ‘How are you?’ in Filipino language,” she yelled at me while I hurried my pace to get the plugged vital signs monitor from one of the walls. I remained silent. With her smiling widely, not minding the presence of her unit deputy and despite the fact that inmates shouldn’t talk as if they were befriending any staff. It was a “no-no!” The incarcerated ones were given the rules and policies as they got housed in a particular cell or unit.

“Did you hear me, Nurse?” she repeated, wondering why she never evoked a warm, perhaps, a surprised response from me. Deep inside, I wasn’t in the mood to act as if we could be friends. I knew she was wasting my time by lying about her injuries.  The LVN watching me do her sick call was surprised. This particular nurse was in school to take his RN degree and I often would call him to get him more familiar with ways and things an RN would do so he would know more by the time he advanced his degree and remained working as a Correctional Nurse. I knew he was hungry to learn, often volunteering to help me when I needed an extra hand.

“Hey, nurse! Kumusta ka na?” she repeated even louder as she slightly adjusted her tall, heavy set body on the chair when I neared her space. Awaiting for a warm response from this muted nurse.

“Ma’am…I am not ignoring you. You were brought here by your deputy for a specific purpose of being evaluated for the injury you claimed. And that’s what I intend to do. To talk about your situation if any and find out about it.”

“Tell me how you got hurt…”

Her face changed to a sour note. With her feelings being offended by a quick brush of a little authority and truth, she cleared her throat.

“Well, I fell from the top bunk and then hit my head on the ground. It hurts,” she replied with a slight tone of arrogance as her right index finger pointed to the right side of her temple. I didn’t see any lacerations nor any bump. The nurse next to me whispered and wondered why I didn’t progress right away to that area she complained about.

“I’m digging deeper because her injury is not true,” I whispered back at him. Being new to full assessment, he watched her intently and I could tell, his ears were even more widely open to hear what I would ask.

“From what bunk did you fall?”

“Well, I was at the top bunk so you know that’s high,” she continued to answer as if I was dumb enough not to understand her first complaint.

“If you were given a bottom bunk by our doctor’s assistant, what were you doing on the top bunk?”

Her eyes immediately looked at the deputy, who already looked upset from taking those long walks to bring her to the Clinic. Without any answer, she started sobbing.

“I don’t know. I didn’t like my ‘cellie’ (cellmate) I guess, so I switched beds with her.”

“Even if you are injured, it was your fault for causing that fall. There is a good reason when one assigns you to the bottom bunk. But I can tell you also don’t have any signs of injury.”

Her sobbing grew louder. As loud as when she first walked in, asking me “How I was”. She knew she was caught lying. And had run out of any course to get out of it. 

“Take her with you,” I advised the ‘pissed-off’ deputy.

And as she remained crying, I added, “But you know you can ask to see us anytime if you have a true injury.”

“Wow!” the other nurse whispered again to me.

“Didn’t know she was lying at first.”

I wasn’t sure how long she would be in the jail but I knew she wouldn’t be back to the Clinic for a while. She probably thought it was okay to lie to get her things that would benefit her. But how would she know the true condition of her heart if no one else pointed at it? And that was my hope. For her to search her heart’s intentions. And truly discover that instead of helping her ended up hurting her.

For all of us are the same. We don’t know other’s hearts’ conditions. Sometimes, we don’t even know our own. This New Year, I’m tired of making resolutions that are hard to accomplish. I want to be real in having such goals more realistic. And I know it starts within me. For we become numb with the same habits we have as humans. Imprisoning our own bodies and spirits with a lot of the world’s things we often think as harmless. But how true that our hearts can be deceitful in our corrupt state. And only God sees these harmful things in our hearts. Time is short and I want to be wise. And I pray that God will search every room, every corner of my heart. This 2014.

The Message



"Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations.  My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm.– Isaiah 51: 4-5 (NLT)



My son yelled as I turned the knob on the dryer and started the cycle to dry my second load of laundry. 

“It’s your work calling, Mom.”

“Don’t pick it up! Let them leave a message for me.”

He chuckled as he intently listened. Word per word and couldn’t believe what he heard:

“Just wondering if you wanna’ pick up the shift tonight…4 hours…6…8…10…even 12…Whatever you like…” 

It brought me back to the lies put out on the table. When I battled the people in power and accused me of lies about my disability that were not true. In reality…it was them lying about my situation. Except…I was frustrated that I didn’t get the help I needed from the federal agency that was supposed to help people being discriminated at work.

“There were no 8 hours allowed anymore to work in all the facilities,” one lie I recalled.

Yet, that was not the first time they begged me to come whatever number of hours I wanted to do to help out the short staff. Nor would it be the last…

They demoted my position. A show of their power that they could do what they wanted. I accepted. But demoting me to a Per Diem status became an advantage. They couldn’t force me anymore to work on days or shifts that I was forced to do prior to that action. I knew I had to trust more and let God worked for me. I knew what I didn’t understand, there would always be a blessing in disguise.

I faced them without fear. Yes… I was outnumbered…There were 6 “Laban” intimidating me. Trying their best to give me a hard time so I would quit on my own. They robbed me, too. Of many benefits because of that demotion. But I knew…those were just “things”…Replaceable things. Things that would never last. They might have robbed me. But never the God I served. And trusted. And believed in…

“It’s okay,” I told my son as I woke up from being in a reflective moment.

“You know Mommy had been okay…Because God is good to us…All the  time…”

I felt his arms embraced me as he kissed my right cheek. 

“I love you, Mom…” he added as he dashed to go upstairs and get ready for school.

How many men would love to be “gods” while Jesus, the true Son of God chose to be “a man?”

How many poor would be wishing for the riches all the time yet the King of Kings chose to come down here and show His love and redemption? Born in the lowly place…A manger…

Not all injustices occur toward us… A lot of times, a person doesn’t have to look that far. Just look into one’s heart. If one finds “self-righteousness” in it, the belief that one doesn’t need Jesus because he or she is a good person is not true. This belief denies the need for that heart to have its sins be removed. Jesus is the meaning of the Season. He came because we were the reason why He gave His life...


Thanksgiving



The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer

I’m scheduled to work this Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve, to fulfill my commitment as a Per Diem Nurse to work one holiday per year. I had gotten sick these past few days and was not able to work this past weekend. This time, as Thanksgiving peers in the current month, the policy at work is stricter. Anyone who will call in sick from Thanksgiving until the rest of the other holidays of this year will require a medical note. A necessity done to prevent the not necessary sick calls that would further burden the already “shortage” in our current number of staff.

“Why don’t you just order the eggrolls and I’ll pick them up on Thursday morning?” my huby suggested knowing I would be tired by the following day. 

The mind that quickly imagined how good that sounded to hungry tummies agreed in a second. As I started warming up the dinner I had made for him and our son and as we all sat on the table to discuss how each of us spent our day. Often times, we always realized there were just too many blessings to be thankful for. Each day. No matter what minor inconveniences, even bigger problems showed up, there were always “blessings in disguise” it seemed to be discovered.

“No, I changed my mind,” I told my husband. 

“Just order or buy lunch if I won’t be able to cook,” I suggested.

He didn’t have a sad face surprisingly. He agreed with me this time. Thanksgiving we knew at that moment, wouldn’t be an issue about what to eat or what food to have. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be just being thankful for all the blessings, big or small that came our way. Nor Thanksgiving was not reserved for only one day out of 365 days.

Thanksgiving is about to Whom we are thankful for. Yes, the One Who showers us with all those blessings. The One Who deserves all our praises and thanks. Not just for one day. But in each day that comes and goes.

Then I will praise God's name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30 NLT

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. – Psalm 95:1-6 NIV

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. – 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NIV)

Happy Thaksgiving to all of you dear friends/brothers/sisters in Christ. To our Lord be the glory forever and ever...





The Dry Leaf



Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? – Job 13:25 (NIV)

I slowly stretched my aching back as I swept more dried fig leaves I patiently detached, one by one, from the thin and bigger branches of the fig tree. Careful that my footing would be secure on our slope yesterday. Daily, I had been sweeping a few here and there. So, I thought of making my task easier by removing the other dry leaves that had not been blown off by the wind yet nor just broke off on its own. I nearly filled the bin meant to contain branches or yard clippings.

The fig tree looked a lot better as greener, remaining leaves remained. The yellow, decayed leaves gone from its still healthy tree. Battered by the chillier winter winds and sometimes, a hotter sun, those leaves withered away from the extreme, constantly changing weather. My husband and I enjoyed a few of its fruits this past summer. A lot lesser than what it previously produced. Still…The fruits were sweet.

My attention was interrupted with an in-coming text from a dear friend. She injured her foot and for four months had to be away from work. Except…that text came from the hospital where she worked. She was placed back to try and see how she would do as she still continued to recover from her injury. She had gone through so many trials. As a witness, I was grateful that God had given me the means to be able to help her in any way I could. I knew she wanted to give up many times. What words could one give if the burden was not on one’s own shoulders? 

Why does one thing after another keeps happening? I don’t understand, Rcubes,” she lamented one time as she laid on the hospital bed awaiting surgery and as I sat by the bedside. 

I knew her heart. She had a good heart. Full of kindness and love to those around her. But it seemed like waves of unexpected trial kept hitting her and kept coming. Threatening the sands of her faith in God to be washed away as those forceful waves came. 

I couldn’t answer her. I just told her what Jesus said. That we would face many trials and would have sorrows in this place or world. But at the same time, He wanted us to pay attention to the peace He could give. That could guard our hearts and minds. Because He had overcome the world. He didn’t want us to worry. For worrying would not add another day into our lives.

I knew I had to remove those dry, some rotting leaves from the fig tree before the wind knocked each off from its fragile branches, already battling the cold November winds.  I knew my friend felt like that dry leaf that had fallen to ground and still was being crushed by the forceful winds of trials. But God also taught me through His Word to be careful not to judge someone

Because someone who is going through tough times doesn’t mean that he or she is a bad person. 

Nor a prosperous person is someone who has a good heart and knows God. 

However, a sinner is like that dry leaf, being chased by the wind. Its forceful blow bringing to mind its own fragile state. God does the same… Sometimes, He makes us remember our past sins not to hurt us but most of all, to bring us to repentance. Because to know Jesus is to find peace among life’s turmoil. To discover and have life and revival of its dead condition.

"Just sore, achy..." another text came in from my friend...

My heart understood hers as I also had a history of neck injury from the past. But joy flooded my heart as I pondered:

Belief and faith in Jesus will make one overcome any trials...I knew I felt a smile appeared on my face as I stared at the greener fig tree and as I realized....

My friend would overcome....She already did...Trial after trial...She remained a victor...Despite the waves of doubts, she chose to believe... 

"Take care..." I texted back.
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.



Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends